What is the one thing your teenagers swear they cannot survive without? What is the worst possible punishment parents can use to tame rebellious teenagers?
An Internet connection. (Or lack thereof.)
The most engrossing yet time-wasting, informational yet controversial, and here-to-stay invention of the 20th century has become the air we breathe and can’t live without. Hardly anyone living in the modern civilized world can imagine what life would be like without the Internet.
How it all started
The idea of a “world wireless system” was something inventors and visionaries Nikola Tesla, Paul Otlet and Vannevar Bush considered back in the early 1900s. In the mid-1900s, the idea of an “Intergalactic Network” was popularized by J.C.R. Licklider and soon after, the concept of “packet switching”, which is a way of transmitting electronic data, was developed by computer scientists.
The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was created in the late 1960s and used packet switching to enable communication between multiple computers. Scientists Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf developed a communications model, called Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), that became the standard for data transmission between multiple networks. TCP/IP was adopted by ARPANET in 1983 and served as the foundation for what would soon become the Internet.
The World Wide Web was invented by computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee in 1990 and helped make the Internet popular and accessible to the public.
For Better or For Worse
Since the 1990s, the Internet has been called “the greatest legal facilitator of inequality in human history”, “too big”, “broken”, “dying” and a host of other things. With all of the controversies and unanswerable questions swirling about the benefits and dangers of the Internet, a few things are undeniable.
The Internet helped usher in the greatest era of technological advancement, economic prosperity, education, and innovation in human history. For better or for worse, the Internet is helping to advance industries and boost the economies of developing countries. At the individual level, an Internet connection brings the world to your fingertips.
Are You Ready For It?
The Internet-of-Things (IoT) is the next big change that will impact the way we use and access the Internet. Devices will connect to each other to create an ecosystem of seamless communication, promising efficiency, comfort, and a “smarter” life. Everything from refrigerators, alarm clocks, HVAC systems, vacuum cleaners, lights, doors, house alarms, mirrors and televisions will soon have the capability to communicate, building a world that never sleeps. Are you ready?